Count Zero
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Count Zero (Sprawl #2)

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  24,087 ratings  ·  521 reviews
A corporate mercenary wakes in a reconstructed body, a beautiful woman by his side. Then Hosaka Corporation reactivates him, for a mission more dangerous than the one he’s recovering from: to get a defecting chief of R&D — and the biochip he’s perfected—out intact. But this proves to be of supreme interest to certain other parties — some of whom aren’t remotely human…...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published April 1st 1987 by Penguin Group US (first published 1986)
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Clouds

Following the resounding success of my Locus Quest, I faced a dilemma: which reading list to follow it up with? Variety is the spice of life, so I’ve decided to diversify and pursue six different lists simultaneously. This book falls into my FINISHING THE SERIES! list.

I loves me a good series! But I'm terrible for starting a new series before finishing my last - so this reading list is all about trying to close out those series I've got on the go...

A quick look at the numbers...
Why is it that ...more
Chris
I would perhaps complain that the ending was a bit to deus ex machina for my taste, but then the entire book is wound around the theme of god being in the machine. From the vodou loa who seemingly possess various characters and steer the entire plot; to the mad European trillionare who has reached near immortality through preservation vats and virtual reality; to the insane former net cowboy who now believes he has found god in the random yet deeply moving works of art created by long abandoned...more
Kat  Hooper
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

"They plot with men, my other selves, and men imagine they are gods."

Several years have passed since Molly and Case freed the AI who calls himself Neuromancer. Neuromancer’s been busy and now his plots have widened to involve several people whom we meet in Count Zero:

Turner is a recently reconstructed mercenary who’s been hired by the Hosaka Corporation to extract Christopher Mitchell and his daughter Angie from Mitchell’s job at Maas Biolabs. Mitchell is...more
Darwin8u
I haven't read Sprawl # 3 (Mona Lisa Overdrive), but after reading Neuromancer and now 'Count Zero', I think I will start referring to the Sprawl trilogy as the Sprawl Dialectic. 'Neuromancer' = Thesis. 'Count Zero' = Antithesis, so I guess I have to wait to see if 'Mona Lisa Overdrive' = Synthesis.

Gibson's warnings about cyberspace, the matrix, electronic hallucinations, corporate excess, etc., in 'Neuromancer' served only to codify/name the culture/future he was warning about. Instead of serv...more
Tfitoby
An interesting addition to the Sprawl trilogy started with Neuromancer, taking a look at similar themes from a different perspective. What makes us human? What effect is technology having on us as a species? What happens if technology develops beyond our understanding and of its own free will?

I wasn't blown away, in fact I found it quite difficult to read at times yet managed to read it what felt like no time at all. This sort of sums up the contradiction of my experience of this book. Bored yet...more
Brad
This review was written in the late nineties (for my eyes only), and it was buried in amongst my things until recently when I uncovered the journal in which it was written. I have transcribed it verbatim from all those years ago (although square brackets may indicate some additional information for the sake of readability or some sort of commentary from now). This is one of my lost reviews.

"She's gone and the present is trivia." That line from Memento scrawled in my handwriting at the back of Co...more
Jason

3 Stars


Well, just like with Neurmonancer, William Gibson’s amazing command of the English language, coupled with his incredible writing style was not enough for me to love Count Zero. It is very well written, fast paced, filled with cool sci-fi action scenes and gadgetry, and not overly long in length.



The problem with this book is that I really never cared one bit about any of the characters in this book, or in book one for that matter. As a result, all the world building, science, and cool gadg...more
Ryan
They say that teachers steadily develop during their first ten years. After that, some teachers continue to grow and others plateau. Sometimes I get the feeling that there's a similar arc of development for authors, one that means authors become less interesting as they get older.

I first noticed this back in my university days, when I read quite a bit of John Steinbeck. I really liked the earlier works that I read, but as I began to read his later works, I found that something was missing. Over...more
Rob
Executive Summary: A fast-paced thriller from the master of cyberpunk.

Full Review
I've had this book and Mona Lisa Overdrive sitting unread on my shelves for far too long. I kept finding other books to grab my attention.

I finally got around to reading this, and I wish I had sooner. I wanted something short and fun and this fit the bill nicely.

The book opens with Turner, a mercenary for hire, who specializes in aggressive corporate recruiting, of a sort. His job involves extracting high value emp...more
David Mcangus
With Count Zero, William Gibson employs the familiar device of fragmenting his narrative between multiple protagonists. On paper, this was a good idea. By utilising four characters and telling their stories separately, it had to the potential to go into greater detail with the world building and increase the complexity of the plot. The problem however, is that by incorporating four protagonists, his weakness in characterisation is made that more apparent. In Neuromancer, Molly was the linchpin....more
Matt
William Gibson's "Neuromancer," the first book in The Sprawl Trilogy, was loved by all for its original voice, and it really managed to reinvigorate science fiction in the era. The first novel to win the Hugo, Nebula, and Philip K. Dick awards, the second book had a lot to live up to, and in my humble opinion, it surpasses it.

Between the first two books of the trilogy, Gibson has managed to create not only an interesting future world, but an entire culture. Everything including language, religio...more
Ben Babcock
William Gibson can write. I keep exploring this in different ways and different words as I read through Gibson’s oeuvre, but in the end it comes down to two appropriately alliterative words: William Gibson has voice and vision. He has a way with language that not every writer, even really good ones, ever manages to master. He knows how to use and manipulate words and phrases to create cultures. With this talent, he creates novels that conjure up pocket universes of our future.

Count Zero is much...more
Andreas
The Sprawl Trilogy consists of:

* Neuromancer
* Count Zero
* Mona Lisa Overdrive

Gibson invented the cyberpunk subgenre with this plot-wise loosely connected series of books and he revitalized SciFi in the process. His sparse, cool prose and his approach to characterization mark the writing of many of his successors, probably chief among those Neal Stephenson.

His descriptions of cyberculture have aged well, since he was wise enough not to be too specific about hardware and software. He himself at...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This is the middle book of the Sprawl Trilogy by Gibson (in between Neuromancer and Mona Lisa Overdrive), and my absolute favorite. The other two are largely action-based, and this one had a lot of that but also a lot of beautiful descriptions, somewhat mystically-oriented plotlines, and it really drew me in, probably because I'm no stranger to cyberspace myself. I really loved the ending, so much that I re-read it twice before moving on.

"Bobby had been trying to chart a way out of this landscap...more
Olethros
-Otro libro del padre putativo del Cyberpunk pero cuidando más las formas desde lo narrativamente convencional.-

Género. Ciencia-Ficción.

Lo que nos cuenta. Turner es un mercenario especializado en operaciones de extracción que tras ser dañado en un atentado provoca dudas sobre su capacidad actual en sus nuevos potenciales empleadores. Marly es una galerista caída en desgracia por un escándalo de falsificación del que en realidad no era directamente responsable y que ahora parece ser del interés d...more
Oscar
’Conde Cero’ (Count Zero, 1986), es la segunda novela de la trilogía The Sprawl, que se inició en 1984 con la ya mítica ‘Neuromante’, y que finaliza con ‘Mona Lisa Acelerada’. ’Conde Cero’ contiene la gran mayoría de elementos del género cyberpunk, a saber: futuro distópico, grandes corporaciones con objetivos bastante discutibles, personajes como meros peones de la trama, ciudades controladas por bandas callejeras, cyberjerga, acceso a la Red mediante conexiones neurológicas, inteligencias arti...more
Alexander McNabb
The second of Gibson's Sprawl trilogy, this is very much a continuation of Neuromancer but is, in hindsight, overshadowed by its successor, Mona Lisa Overdrive.

But the book's still a rocking good read, seemingly splashed on the page with strokes of such verve at times it feels like it's careening out of control. It's a bit fractal - the novel as a whole feels like a leviathan spaceship-cum-junkyard, bits hanging off it everywhere, but the whole thing set in unstoppable forward motion.

I feel guil...more
Nick Wellings
How can a book so lovingly crafted, so self-assured in its own 'cosmology' so full of verve and relentless hard-boiled action, so chock full of fantastic prose feel so...dated? Is it because Gibson's "Matrix" has been realised in film-form full of spangly graphics and gunfights and cod-philosophy? because his immersive cyberspace has become something like our reality? because the digital is integrated into our lives, become drug of choice for men, women and children by the millions? After all, t...more
Nate D
My problem with a lot of genre fiction is that when not wholly unimaginative, it is often too restrained and quasi-literary to take full advantage of the opportunities open to it. Not so here. Gibson shows a rare willingness to plunge as far into his crazed techno-mythology as I could reasonably hope. Haitian gods manifesting (or seeming to manifest) in lost corners of the internet, megacorporations more powerful than nations which have all but ceased to exist, rewired brains and bodies, and pil...more
Alex
William Gibson's command of the hard boiled voice is highly refined. I'd say this alone makes this book worth reading.

In 2014 there are aspects of his style that today are considered bad writing - substituting a brand name for a description, for example. He might write (a completely made up sentence on my part): "He sat down at the Sony and patched in," without the least description of what the Sony is. This is considered bad writing today because William Gibson spawned so many imitators. In sho...more
David
I'm intermingling my reading of the books in William Gibson's first two series ("The Sprawl" and "The Bridge"). This book, "Count Zero," is the second book in his first (the Sprawl) trilogy. Since I'm reading the books in an odd order, I'm noticing how I prefer Gibson's earlier work to the later. So far, even though the writing is very similar in both series, the older (Sprawl) books remain on target much better than the books in the later series (i.e., here, Gibson doesn't get side-tracked desc...more
Yvette
I always start in the middle. Not sure why that is, but I never, ever start at the beginning of the series.

Sometimes, I even start at the end! Even then, I don't work backwards logically. Nope. Not me.

So, it was with some surprise that I read the wiki on this book and learned that the "cyberspace gods" referred to, hinted at, derided, and viewed with suspicion in this book are the leftovers of characters from the last book. Well. Nobody told me. It would have been nice if they had!

I may never go...more
The_britguy
Tras un parón de lectura (he tratado de volver a ráfagas, pero sin éxito) debido a razones de índole personal bastante catastróficas, decidí volver a la lectura con una obra que me motivara y no excesivamente difícil de digerir.
Creo que Count Zero cumple esas prerrogativas, ya que el cyberpunk es un subgénero que me motiva muchísimo al aunar un tufillo a novela negra (que tanto me gusta), la ciencia ficción y la investigación social en las distopias futuristas.
William Gibson recoge la trama en u...more
Jimboninja
Of the Sprawl books, this is definitely my favorite. In fact, I find copies of it every now and then while rummaging through boxes...

The writing is classic Gibson with great descriptive passages that read like poetry. I especially like the opening scenes in Mexico; a hot airport, a bus ride on a mountain road, and a cheap hotel room near the beach.

Count Zero is grittier than Neuromancer with less concentration on the Matrix and more on vehicles and hardware. The main character is a corporate me...more
Kyle Nakamura
This is definitely my favorite of Gibson's books, for reasons that I won't bother explaining in detail since it would spoil the story. As with Neuromancer, this book is about setting, atmosphere, ideas, and archetypes. The plot itself and most of the characters are somewhat secondary, a vehicle to convey a brilliantly envisioned world-gone-mad. The chaotic interplay between the different elements of that world, and the strangeness that arises from all that information and technology is really w...more
Rachel
Gibson is the only author I can think of who is capable of writing a book that has so many parts that make very little sense to me (or that I have to work so hard to follow) yet I'm inclined to keep going. I love reading his descriptions so much that I would probably read "William Gibson takes a trip to Safeway and Describes it in 100 pages". Not probably, I would definitely read that. Even after everything is all tied together, there's still some things I didn't get but the book still seems gre...more
Mike
Feb 26, 2011 Mike rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Probably would award this book a "4.5+" is such a grade existed.

Not a "5" as for "Neuromancer" because as unfair as it is, that book set the bar so high that subjectively a book has to better it to get the same score. I can't really add much to my review of this (as I don't do synopsis or spoilers) that I did not just write in my text about "Neuromancer". But this book did not disappoint. It was a welcome new tale from an author I had been very, very impressed by.
You may be as well. Get a copy a...more
David
I have learned by now that you don't read Gibson to see a plot get resolved, or to explore detailed, complex characters -- you read him to immerse yourself in a vision of cyberpunk future, and how human relations change (often for the worse) as technology changes society. Actually, Count Zero has a tighter plot than many of Gibson's other novels, somehow combining corporate espionage, eccentric billionaires, Haitain voudoo gods that may or may not be AI (after a certain point, does the line blur...more
James
Reading a William Gibson book has of late been my escape from other books that I'm struggling to finish. When I first started reading Gibson, I always waited for a trip on a plane to buy the next one. I'd pick it up in an airport bookstore and read it on the plane. The between space of a flight, waiting to board in glass walled terminals, listening to the hum of travel commerce. That's where Gibson fit in best for me. Now he's an old friend I just like spending time with.

Count Zero is an excelle...more
Purity Anddeath
While not quite as all-around strong as Neuromancer, I feel both Count Zero and Mona Lisa Overdrive flew along faster to the tune of their own successes since the settings and backstory were already in place. That's exactly how people should write when they continue a series.

Lots of crazy stuff is going on in the wake of Wintermute. While Neuromancer had the mystery plot going for it these were sort of the mystery having an identity crisis and...Well shit, I guess we all just gotta keep moving f...more
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A question about the resolution (Big spoiler included) 2 60 Jun 20, 2013 06:03AM  
The final dialogue exchange...(spoilers) 6 72 Feb 13, 2013 04:54AM  
Just aquired this book. 2 30 Sep 07, 2008 01:58PM  
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9226
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

William Ford Gibson is an American-Canadian writer who has been called the father of the cyberpunk subgenre of science fiction, having coined the term cyberspace in 1982 and popularized it in his first novel, Neuromancer(1984), which has sold more than 6.5 million copies wor...more
More about William Gibson...
Neuromancer (Sprawl #1) Pattern Recognition (Blue Ant, #1) Burning Chrome Mona Lisa Overdrive (Sprawl, #3) Idoru (Bridge, #2)

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“And, for an instant, she stared directly into those soft blue eyes and knew, with an instinctive mammalian certainty, that the exceedingly rich were no longer even remotely human.” 52 likes
“Are you - are you sad?"
- No.
"But your - your songs are sad."
- My songs are of time and distance. The sadness is in you. Watch my arms. There is only the dance. These things you treasure are shells.”
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